Tag Archives: free trade

Bush Right, Democrats Wrong, on Immigration and Free Trade

Homeland Security (which is under President Bush’s control) extends the work permit of foreigners who graduate from American universities with Master or Doctoral degrees from 12 to 19 months.

Congress has not acted to increase the H1-B limit, meaning perhaps 100,000 high-skilled workers will be turned away, leading to a large loss of human capital and moving high-skill industries away from the United States. In spite of this, Bush’s USCIS will accept as many applicants as possible — even perhaps exceeding the Congressional cap.

And meanwhile Bush pushes for a free-trade agreement for Columbia, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unfavorable compares to ‘a foreign-aid package’!

As the Asia Times writes:

In any case, the AFL/CIO and its cheerleaders among the Democrats in Congress appear to have found a way to kill even bilateral trade agreements, by demanding US levels of union protections, benefits and environmental restrictions in the relatively poor countries with which they are generally negotiated. A world full of bilateral trade agreements is not flat but mildly bumpy; a world in which even these have become impossible requires serious landscaping.

The issues are too important to trust the Democrats with the Presidency.

Vote John McCain.

Against the New Core

The Seattle Times editorializes on Barack Obama’s opposition to trade with the New Core, those billions of new capitalists who have come online since the end of the Cold War:

The Democratic presidential candidates, instead of bashing international trade, should be touting its contribution to shoring up a souring economy.

In 2007, exports rose 12 percent to a record $1.6 trillion in goods and services, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That growth accounted for more than one-quarter of the increase in the gross domestic product.Exports are one of the few bright spots in an economy that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledges appears to be heading into recession. And the relative strength of Washington state’s economy — where one in every three jobs is trade-related — is testimony to the benefits of trade.

But that point is all but ignored in Sen. Barack Obama’s remarks prepared for an AFL-CIO meeting Wednesday in Philadelphia.

“Now, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that we can’t stop globalization in its tracks and that opening new markets to our goods can help strengthen our economy,” Obama’s speech reads.

Would he want to? Really? Stop it in its tracks?

Obama goes on to promise the union members he’ll vote against the pending trade agreements with South Korea and Colombia, and he’ll oppose permanent normal trade relations with China.

Besides the hope that Obama is lying or naive, is there any defense for Obama’s words?

Hillary going the wrong way on free trade with Panama and Colombia

One of the hardest, but most important, tasks facing America is the integration of the Western hemisphere. But like the integration of Europe across the pond, the dream of the Americas is for half the world (by land and sea area) to live in peace, prosperity, and democracy. Certainly the New World stands a much better chance at tranquility than the old…

President Bush has been a tireless advocate of immigration, and bravely stood up against the hidebound of his own party in struggling for it. He failed, but he was on the right side.

Unlike Senator Clinton, who came out recently against even free trade deals with Columbia and Panama (hat-tip to Democratic Underground). Panama is a country created/liberated by the United States to build the Panama Canal, and Colombia (Panama’s previous sovereign) is facing a narco-fueled Marxist insurgency. Free trade in capital and goods is far easier to achieve than free trade in labor, yet Clinton opposes even that small step.

I hope Hilldog is being deceptive, like her husband rallied against NAFTA and the “butchers in Beijing” before signing a free trade deal with Mexico City and paving the way for China to join the WTO. Given that the Clinton circle is close to the Wall Street faction of the Democratic Party, I certainly think she is.

Still, it’s crummy to hope that politicians are lying. And opposing free trade with Columbia and Panama is a crummy thing for Hillary Clinton to do.

Free Trade with South Korea!

South Korea and U.S. reach free trade agreement. Associated Press. April 1, 2007. Available online: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/04/02/asia/AS-FIN-SKorea-US-Free-Trade.php.

Despite intense skepticism, the United States and South Korea reached an agreement on a future free trade deal. If ratified by both countries, the deal will be the largest in Korean history and the larges for America since NAFTA. Besides the obvious economic gains, this deal has very good strategic implications, as well.

The Greater Korean Republic

A South Korea – American free trade agreement would two pillars of the core, East Asia and North America, closer together. It will be the second major free trade agreement under the Bush Administration (the first being the Central American Free Trade Agreement). Further, South Korea is greatly admired in China for being an oriental state that modernized without losing its traditional, Asian characteristics. Further connecting South Korea to America demonstrates to potentially warry Chinese that ever-increasing globalization between a Western and Oriental country can allow both to get materially richer without getting culturally worse.

Of course, stumbling blocks can still be thrown up. While most South Koreans support increased openness, left-wing factions linked to North Korean racist-isolationism have already held violation demonstrations. And in our own country, Democratic hostility to orientals is as typical of the rear-end of that party as is Republican hostility to latinos.

Definite props to President Bush for pushing things this far. Let’s hope that the Democratic Congress passes the South Korea Free Trade Agreement as quickly as possible.

Update: One Free Korea has more.

Update 2: Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog analyzes the deal in the context of ASEAN.

French-Style Protectionism Comes to America (and soon the world?)

A New Threat to America Inc.,” by Jeffrey Garten, Business Week, 25 July 2005, pg 114, http://businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_30/b3944123.htm.

France and the rest of “Old Europe” have rightly been criticized for trying to export burdens on the rising states of central Europe. From the old Iron Curtain to the borders of Russia herself, the central European states have lowered taxes, lightened regulations, and enjoyed strong growth. But this was not good news to the French and the Eurocrats, who saw a pro-growth economy as “unfair.” France’s solution has been to try to force New Europe to have higher taxes and more regulation. After all, if the French suffer because of bad French decisions, why shouldn’t everyone?

Former Clinton appointee and Yale Professor Jeff Garten believes America should act like the French

The rise of these new multinationals will force Corporate America to rethink strategies for Third World product development, marketing, and links with local companies. But growth of these new rivals should also compel Washington and other Western governments to revamp today’s inadequate hodgepodge of global commerce rules. The reason: Western companies could be disadvantaged by having to adhere to more stringent economic and social standards than the competition [sic — tdaxp], because of their tougher [he means “less competitive” — tdaxp] home-country laws and expectations.

There is a huge gap in the international framework for such standards. The World Trade Organization deals with governments but not with companies. The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development has established a code of conduct for multinationals, but compliance is voluntary and pertains only to its members — mostly from rich countries.

For example, all companies should be held to international accounting standards, including financial disclosure and transparency [so much for competition! — tdaxp]. There should be accepted corporate-governance rules, including protections for minority shareholders. The requirements for listing on major stock exchanges should be more rigorous and uniform. And all global companies — including those from the West — should disclose their labor conditions and the impact they have on the environment using a common, audited format. None of this has yet happened.

As long as American multinationals ruled the global roost, Washington resisted most formal rules for international business on the grounds they would constrain U.S. outfits such as IBM (IBM ) and Coca-Cola Co. (KO ) But the challenge from emerging-market companies signals that the dominance of big U.S. and European corporations is no longer assured . Uncle Sam should take the lead in efforts to build a new global commercial order — while the U.S. still has the clout.

In other words, Garten thinks America should export rules, not import freedom; government dictates, not peer-to-peer agreements.

The French would be proud.

WTO Membership for Iran

Bush Weighs Offers To Iran: U.S. Might Join Effort to Halt Nuclear Program,” by Robin Wright, Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58417-2005Feb27.html, 28 February 2005 (from Democratic Underground)

Right after the news that Cuba is telling its people to avoid foreigners, the Bush Administration is thinking of granting WTO membership to Iran:

The Bush administration is close to a decision to join Europe in offering incentives to Iran — possibly including eventual membership in the World Trade Organization — in exchange for Tehran’s formal agreement to surrender any plans to develop a nuclear weapon, according to senior U.S. officials.

That’s my kind of Islamic Republic!

Useful bs about Iran’s nuclear program aside, this is great news. Much better than crazy plans to embargo Iran. Iran’s democracy is about where Britain’s was a century ago, they have a very secular population, and Persia is a natural security pillar in the Middle East. We need to continue to integrate Persians into the international system so a future without the mullahs in charge becomes more and more real.

Free the Iranian people. Free the Iranian bloggers. Do everything possibel to add Iran to the functioning core.